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To the Antarctic

Belgica's polar pioneers

Come and meet the expedition members of the Belgica. Some 125 years ago, they set off from Antwerp to the last blind spot on the world map: Antarctica. The expedition got stuck in the polar ice and made history as a result. Learn how the men managed to survive, who followed in their footsteps, and what Antarctica is like today.

    Friday 21 June 2024 until Sunday 3 November 2024 from 10:00 to 17:00

Up until then, no one had ever done it: the young, international crew of the Belgica got stuck in the ice, and had to survive in the freezing cold for a year. They fell ill due to poor nutrition and had an extra hard time mentally during the long polar night without daylight. But they continued pioneering scientific research: they mapped new areas with Belgian-sounding names and collected unknown fauna and flora.  

To free themselves, the expedition members did the impossible: with great perseverance, they sawed a way through the ice to free their ship. Just before a second polar winter began, the Belgica set sail back to Belgium. 

In this new expo, you travel with the expedition yourself. Diaries of the crew, beautiful photos and authentic parts of the expedition ship bring this incredible adventure back to life.  

Antarctica is a breathtaking place, but climate change is also being felt on this pristine continent. The expo therefore also takes you to the Antarctic today. You will learn about scientific research and climate, territorial claims and international collaborations. This section of the exhibition was created in cooperation with International Polar Foundation, the foundation behind the Princess Elisabeth Station in Antarctica. 

Practical

  • A temporary exhibition about the Antarctic and the voyage of the ship Belgica to reach it.
    From 21 June to 3 November 2024.

Guided tours

To the Antarctic

Belgica's polar pioneers

Together with a guide, you will depart on the Belgica, heading for Antarctica. During the tour, you will get to know the research ship's very young crew and how they are forced to spend the winter in the Antarctic. You will also reflect on climate warming on the continent today.

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